Question about visiting bethel ... akward moment at the end

by nevaagain 33 Replies latest jw friends

  • Beth Sarim
    Beth Sarim
    At least, we got offered a lunch. The food wasn't bad at least, it was actually quite a good meal. I never had to eat the rest of the day and we ate lunch just after the tour finished around 1:30pm.
  • startingover
    I remember getting a yearbook in the mail before they were released from a Bethelite friend. I now think that was a allowed and the postage paid for by the org in an effort to get the Bethelite some extra funds via a green handshake. I'm sure this would be denied by the Bethelite. Anyone who served in Bethel care to comment on this?
  • Billy the Ex-Bethelite
    Billy the Ex-Bethelite

    As bethelites, we had a set number of "guest privileges" each year. The earlier in the year, the more valuable they were to us. By December, it wasn't much of a big deal to invite anybody and use them up before they expire.

    Bethelites may be cheap, but so are most publishers, too. I learned early on to never do anything with the expectation of a green handshake. However, I never was on the regular tour guide list, so I didn't deal much with random rank & file visitors. I'll just say that I gave a lot of special tours for the "connected". Of those, I got very few green handshakes, so for me it was a pleasant surprise when it did happen. And it was usually from those I'd least expect.

    so at the end when they took us outside, there was an akward moment of silence, after we all hugged and said bye. Like the other party was waiting for something. Maybe an envelope of cash, or some other present? We only thought about it, because it happened on both occasions.

    I can't say whether or not they were expecting cash, but from a bethelite's perspective, your leaving meant it was time for them to go back to work, maybe they didn't want to go back.

    We had the full package, what I mean is, not only we took the tour, but we also had someone to invite us for lunch.

    Sorry but that needs some clarification. "The full package" would have been for them to use their connections to get you a tour beyond the doors you walked past. And the regular tours are boring since you only look at signs hanging in the hallways. At Patterson, did you get a tour inside art, audio/video, legal, or service departments? At Brooklyn, did you get a tour of Writing, Teaching, or whatever else is left down there? Did they take you up to the clocktower at Patterson (or is that on the tour now anyway) or up to any of the roofs in Brooklyn? Did you get invited to stay over in their room (if they had enough seniority and room size for guests), or did they use their guestroom privilege for you? Did they introduce you to any members of the GB? Did you get invited to Family Night? My friends/family could answer "yes" to all of those. So getting invited for lunch isn't really that big of a deal.

  • Billy the Ex-Bethelite
    Billy the Ex-Bethelite

    I remember getting a yearbook in the mail before they were released from a Bethelite friend. I now think that was a allowed and the postage paid for by the org in an effort to get the Bethelite some extra funds via a green handshake. I'm sure this would be denied by the Bethelite. Anyone who served in Bethel care to comment on this?

    That's been a long time ago now.

    No, the org didn't pay for the postage. We had to pay for it out of our reimbursement. Why would any of us have denied it? We were all broke and were hoping that this would get us a little extra spending money.

    We each made our mailing list of friends and family and these books and postage were charged to our bethel account for every one of them. The next year they would send us a copy of the previous year's list and we would add, edit, or remove recipients. This special treatment was also done with some of the videos, as I recall. Some bethelites had huge lists, but I never did more than a dozen.

    Eventually, the yearbooks were printed so late that the congregations were receiving the boxes about the same time these "special" ones arrived in the mail. So that long tradition and potential source of income just disappeared.

    And just to remind everyone how broke we bethelites were, during much of the time I was in Bethel, my monthly reimbursement was LESS than what I now earn in 3 hours work. And today I was in a seminar, so I made more money sitting on my ass today than what I got for slaving for two months at Watchtower.

  • fulano

    Billy. From what I remember the so called " full package" or special tour, which has nothing to do with lunch, was never given to regular publishers, but just to special service people. Bethelites, missionaries, co and sp's

    Funny you mentioned the clock....a lot of space for an electric thing.

  • nevaagain

    To add to my first post. After we arrived home, we really felt bad that we didnt give something in return.

    I guess stating that we had the "full package" was misleading. At Patterson we only had the basic tour and lunch. At Brooklyn, other than the normal tour and lunch, we got a smaller tour through the translation department and also our tour guide (which was married) took us and showed us her room which was located in one of the nice buildings in near Bethel. We kind of recognized her lobby with the piano in the last jw movie (the scene where the party was). Also we took some nice pictures there of the Manhatten skyline.

    Anyway, I feel really bad now, that we were so unprepared and didnt give anything in return. I think I didnt even have any cash with me that day.

    By the way, we kind of were dissapointed by lunch. In Brooklyn we got vegetable Lasagna and unsweetened ice tea and at Patterson we got Philly cheesesteak, which occured to us as beeing an odd choice of a meal, especially for Bethel and made the table look like a mess.

    @Billy the Ex-Bethelite thank you for the clarification what would really the full package consist of ;-)

  • fulano

    Sometimes they receive loads of certain articles, and they make lunch and dinner with it.

    I remember one summer month we ate corn day and night, pigfood.

  • jacobm

    I have to chime in here. I grew up pretty poor. We had the necessities and not much else.

    When I was in the organization as an adult, I WAS paying for my brother in law's bethel experience by the WT contributions I made and by paying state and federal taxes so that if he ever needed unemployment or disability, it would be there. Yah, we got sent books and did the bethel meal & tour, but no way did I slip him cash. If he came to visit, i would treat him to a meal once or twice. He is his own man. Remember, he decided to go to bethel. Giving them money is just helping the WT in the end.

  • biblexaminer

    We have noted many giving the CO a nice gift or a golden handshake over the years. I imagine bethel speakers got the same. Not hard to imagine tour guides with their sweaty palms out.

    I would never give COs or BS (bethel speakers) a dime. In fact, we haven't put anything in the contribution box either in two decades. 20 yrs!

    But we have taken lots of literature and dumped it in the trash. That's where it belongs.

    Like the old woman said, as she peed into the sea, every little bit helps.

  • dozy

    I toured the London Bethel when I was an older teenager. I just remember it being a really boring part of what was otherwise a nice holiday in London - having to put on suits on a sweltering hot day. It certainly put me off Bethel for life - I just couldn't imagine being a drone working in a place like that.

    My father had a couple of contacts so we also got invitations to lunch but it was all a bit strange - just people eating as quickly as possible and a very formal , strained method of passing food and directing attention to the head of the table. People weren't especially friendly - you kind of got the feeling that they were busy working so didn't have any time to chat. The "brother" who got my father's invitation turned up late - stuffed food down his mouth - scooped the rest up into a tupperware box and left quickly , saying he was very busy on some project.

    I also remember the anti-climactic feel at the end. The lunch ended ridiculously prematurely and we just kind of shuffled out of the dining room and looked for the exit. I've never been back ( it was over 30 years ago ) even though a couple of times local congregations organised tours through . It just didn't appeal.

    It's just basically a book printing plant with a few offices. Nothing to see here - move on.

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